Sept. 23, 2022

In the first-of-its kind, save-the-world experiment, NASA is about to hit hard a small, harmless asteroid millions of miles away. A spacecraft named Dart will zero in on the asteroid, intent on slamming it head-on at 14,000 mph (22,500 kph).


  • The impact should be just enough to nudge the asteroid into a slightly tighter orbit around its companion space rock — demonstrating that if a killer asteroid ever heads our way, we’d stand a fighting chance of diverting it.
  • The asteroid with the bull’s-eye on it is Dimorphos, about 7 million miles (9.6 million kilometers) from Earth.
  • It is actually the puny sidekick of a 2,500-foot (780-meter) asteroid named Didymos, Greek for twin.
  • Discovered in 1996, Didymos is spinning so fast that scientists believe it flung off material that eventually formed a moonlet. Dimorphos — roughly 525 feet (160 meters) across — orbits its parent body at a distance of less than a mile (1.2 kilometers).